About Michaela Walsh – The Road to Rio!
Follow Michaela Walsh, one of Ireland’s top female boxers as she pursues her dream of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
I first became interested in boxing because of seeing my younger brother attending and really enjoying the training at the local club. I asked my dad could I join, to which he first replied ‘No’ as he had never heard of women’s boxing J
I kept pestering him for around a week or so and he finally spoke to the Head Coach at of our local boxing club St. Agnes in Belfast and thankfully he said that there was no problem if I joined training with the other kids. Training took place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and boxers that had competition coming up had to train Tuesday and Thursday’s also. Instantly, I fell in love with the sport and would go every night to train. I remember I used to run down to the club, train and then run back home again. I was only 13 when I joined but I was always the hardest trainer there out of all the junior members including the boys – I think that is part of the reason I am where I am today and have achieved so much success.
Over the course of the next year, I was really enjoying training and a friend of my Dad decided to organise some spars for me in Holy Family Boxing Club with Ryan Burnett, a former Amateur Youth Olympic Champion, and currently British & European Champion and undefeated as a Pro. Further Training in Holy Family B.C allowed me to spar with Ryan and Paddy Barnes on a regular basis which was always hard as they wouldn’t necessarily take it easy on me or give any special treatment but it genuinely brought me on leaps and bounds. At the end of that summer, my Dad, brother and I all moved into the Club to train full time.
The rest is history. To date I have won 10 Irish Titles, European Silver, European Bronze, World Championship Bronze, Multi-Nation Gold and Commonwealth Games Silver 2014 representing Northern Ireland . My dad has been there for me from the very start of my career and has coached me the whole way through. Also my brother is my role model, I look up to him even though he is younger than me, he is one of the hardest workers I know and I love training with him. My proudest moment was seeing him win Youth Commonwealth Games Gold in 2015 and I believe one day we will be going to the Olympics together to represent Ireland.
PART 1- 2016 TRAINING BEGINS AT HIGH PERFORMANCE UNIT IN DUBLIN
In the past, I usually have competed in the 54kg category but I have moved down to the 51kg category as it’s an Olympic weight and my dream is to go to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. I just won my national title last month at 51kg beating the previous champion which put me into the number one spot at the weight. This is my first time doing a blog and I’m hoping to be doing this regularly as I begin my journey; hopefully towards qualification.
I am from Belfast and currently based in Dublin for full-time training with the Irish team including both male and female from across all the weigh categories. All the team in a nearby hotel from Tuesday through to Friday and my favourite part of the day there is breakfast (they have the best porridge in the world). We get up every morning at 8am to check weight, get breakfast and then leave the hotel to go to training. We usually have a running session first or strength session. Then later in the afternoon we have a boxing session, get our dinner then we’re back to the hotel for the night. On the 5th January, we began our full time training in the High Performance Unit and after the Christmas break as expected; we all put on a few pounds. It was a very hard but solid week of training but when your training with the best in the world (the likes of Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Michael O’ Reilly and co) it’s easy to find motivation as one day I want to be as good if not better than them. It’s great that we now have a full girls team training along with the boys and it’s good craic with the girls as we are always pulling pranks and winding each other up. I’m looking forward to the weeks to come, getting fitter, stronger, faster and better prepared for what is ahead over the coming months. It’s great to have such a large National Sponsor on board such as Quickpark who have been great supporters of female boxing in Ireland over the last 3 years. After enjoying my weekend of rest and re-co-operation, I was back in week 2 and 3 with plenty of determination to train hard and learn as much as I possibly can.